Imig nets 1,000th career point in Ashwaubenon victory
By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – The wait is over for Ashwaubenon’s Matt Imig.
Needing eight points entering the game to join the 1,000 career point club, Imig netted 14 in helping the Jaguars turn back Bay Port, 48-43, Dec. 17 in Fox River Classic Conference action.
Imig hit the milestone late in the game with 4:29 remaining.
The game was stopped, and the senior was recognized by those in attendance and presented with a commemorative ball.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we got the victory, first and foremost,” Imig said. “It was a struggle tonight.”
A full-time starter since his sophomore year, Imig is averaging about 20 points per game this season.
“It was always in the back of my mind (to hit 1,000),” Imig said. “I knew at some point, this game or another one soon, I’d get there. I’m glad it’s out of the way so I can move on.”
Imig said he has an NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) offer and other interest from Division II and III schools.
Earlier this season, Imig’s teammate, Marcus Tomashek, also joined the 1,000-point club.
Tomashek, a Division II commit to Michigan Tech University, scored 14 points against the Pirates.
The two teams struggled mightily from the floor, hitting a combined 29.8% of their shots.
The Jaguars (4-1 overall, 2-1 FRCC) shot 26% (13-of-49), while the Pirates (2-3, 1-2) shot 32% (17-of-52).
Ashwaubenon was only 5-of-30 from beyond the 3-point line but 17-of-20 from the charity stripe.
Tomashek and Imig were a combined 1-for-15 on their 3-point attempts but drained 15-of-16 free throws.
“I couldn’t hit much of anything,” Imig laughed.
Bay Port jumped out to a 9-2 lead minutes into the game, but the Jaguars ended the first half on a 22-7 run to take a 24-16 lead at intermission.
“I thought we were going to get run out of the gym early on,” Ashwaubenon Head Coach Mark Tomashek said. “We stayed with it, but we could have pushed our lead bigger (in the first half), but we couldn’t hit a shot.”
The Jaguars’ lead ballooned to 38-23 halfway through the second half, but the Pirates pulled to within 40-37 after a Nate Forystek (12 points) bucket with about three minutes remaining.
On the Pirates’ ensuing possession, Forystek missed a potential, game-tying 3-pointer from the left wing.
From there, Ashwaubenon righted the ship and went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line down the stretch.
“In the second half, it was a grinding, grueling game,” Coach Tomashek said. “It was the best poor basketball game I’ve watched. It was an intense game, but both teams didn’t shoot the ball well – it wasn’t fun.”
The Jaguars’ 2-3 zone and quickness gave Bay Port trouble throughout the game.
“It was an ugly game on both sides,” Bay Port Head Coach Nate Rykal said. “Part of it was defense, but both teams shot terrible. We played hard but struggled – it was an odd game. We didn’t get into our offensive flow and didn’t screen well against their zone. (Ashwaubenon) hung in there and made their free throws. Their quickness showed – they got more loose balls and offensive rebounds, especially in the first half.”
The Pirates committed 16 turnovers, including eight from AJ Lieuwen.
“We’re not used to being 2-3,” Rykal said. “We need to be more alert and physical. We haven’t had trouble scoring this season – we’ve had trouble defending. We’ll get better – the season is still young.”
Ashwaubenon’s Jayden Schoen also scored in double digits with 10 points, while Vince Vandervest and Jayden Hackett scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Bay Port.